The Catholic Church said an abuse victim deserved $250,000. A jury gave him $3 million

A Victorian jury has delivered a stinging rebuke to the Catholic Church, awarding $3.3 million to the victim of a notorious paedophile after the church argued compensation should be only $250,000.

The Supreme Court case is the first time a civil trial against the Catholic Church has been tested before jurors.

On Friday, the jury delivered a verdict against the diocese of Wagga Wagga over abuse by priest Vincent Kiss. The verdict included handing the victim $1.3 million in exemplary damages, after the diocese initially claimed in its legal defence that it was unaware of Kiss’ abuse of the victim, despite him pleading guilty to criminal charges in 2002 and serving a seven-year prison sentence.

Kim Price, a partner with Arnold Thomas Becker Lawyers, which represented the plaintiff, said the jury verdict would be the “highest amount the church has ever paid out to a victim.”

“This decision reflects contemporary community outrage about sexual abuse perpetrated by paedophile priests and the conduct of the church,” he said.

“It sets a landmark precedent and will force the church to seriously, finally, reconsider its belligerent attitude.”

Price said three of Kiss’ other victims had also launched civil action against the diocese, but had agreed to confidential financial settlements before trial.

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